July 13, 2022
I've only been working on healing art for a little under a year. Most of my background in energy work came from martial arts. It's been different adjusting the way to look at energy, but I have very much enjoyed the change.
In this module I really liked how you touched on comfort for both the massage worker and the client. I think it is something that is often forgotten about and can be felt by both parties involved. I definitely will be needing to do stretching and practice working on my knees since it's an issue I've had in the past. I definitely agree I can adapt to it over time with practice though. I really like moving with breath and flow of movements. Learning that principle first and then adding techniques to it will be awesome since you can use any variety of techniques and make them feel like one cohesive sequence. I look forward to the next module.
July 13, 2022
I got pretty good reactions from the chi machine. I was able to get the movement pretty quickly, but sustaining it will take some practice. She got the tingling sensation just like the video had said though it was only around the thigh and hip area. I wasn't sure if I needed to go longer for it to spread more or if the position was off, but I was getting full motion in the hip and up to the head.
I had a couple of questions about the chi machine. In the video you raise the legs to make the movement stronger, can you also do the practice from a standing position? Have you ever had issues with people with inverted knees/ have you had situations where it might have been difficult to use this technique because of someone's knees being locked?
Hi Brandon, welcome to our forum and to the Complete Thai Massage certification program. First, please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our Certification Checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:
Regarding your questions - we have some students who are doing the Chi Machine on a massage table where they are standing. So this is possible although it takes less effort doing it the way how it is shown in the video since you don't need to have the legs lifted all the time.
Inverted knees are actually a contraindication for the Chi Machine. However we have some students who got around this by placing a pillow under the knees so that they don't hang through anymore. This reduces the effect a little bit, but it can be done.
There will always be scenarios where you will have to adjust/modify, or even skip a technique because of a particular condition of a client. In other words, not every technique works for every client. The techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences.
You will hear a lot about that throughout this course.
July 13, 2022
The foot massage went really well. My wife enjoyed it so much she was falling asleep. I did have a bit of difficulty with one that had multiple movements in it, but it did start to flow a bit after working it in piece by piece. It took me a second to do the one where you put your leg under their's. Switch between the legs and the directions of the rocking was a little weird. I checked in with her a few times and each one she was so relaxed and happy. I ask her if she'd be willing to let me practice again to smooth out the movement and such and she was super excited to try again later.
July 13, 2022
Focusing on touch and flow is really big for me. I was really absorbed in the technical side of things. I admit that is often how my brain tries to think even though I prefer flow work. Focusing on how it felt was really different and help me figure out what needed attentionthe most. My wife is the one assisting me with most of my practice and I could feel how tight her ankles were which in turn guided through the stretch. It also helped me decide what stretches went well first. I really like how this video really opens up to what you can do v.s. thinking of it like a step 1 step 2 process. I'm still working on the fluidity of the stretch that has multiple movements in it. Even though it wasn't clean my wife still enjoyed it which I felt was good progress. My biggest issues is making sure that my movements are smooth and with good posture. As well, making sure my coordination is good and moving as one piece with the bodyweight behind it.
July 13, 2022
This one was interesting. I felt like I was becoming more fluid and making a nice flow. Then my partner had really tender muscles from a lot of working and long hours standing. My touch was a little too aggressive in the beginning and I had to really back off and go back to feeling. Her tendon was higher and my grip was a lot bigger than what felt natural for the work. So, I had to take some time to figure out how to modify myself to fit my client and still feel comfortable. I'm still trying to sync my body and hand movements so it's not muscled as well. All in all once I made some adjustments she said it felt good.
July 13, 2022
In this module I got the most mixed feedback. The person I was working on was particularly sore in her hips and legs already and very tight. So there was extra adjusting and shifting that had to take place as well one side was much tighter than the other. Because of the tightness and less flexibility I had a hard time changing from one side to the other, since the angles felt off. One side felt really good to be worked on and the different techniques had great reactions. However, the opposite side was much more sensitive and I was having some issues getting the same leverage on the opposite side of the body. I was getting good feedback here and there, but would occasionally press on a sensitive spot or have a little too much pressure. Something to work on and spend some extra time on for sure. They did say at the end that it was a good experience.
The fact is that we learn more from difficult clients than from those on whom everything is easy. I have personally learned a lot of what I know from working on clients with real issues. That's when you have to think on your toes and come up with alternatives, modifications, or even new ways of doing things.
July 13, 2022
I really like how you took the time to talk about the direction of the feet and how it affects the hip position. Though it's something I often think about, I feel you explained it in a simplified way that helped me speed up the process. My wife has a stiffness in her hip and like you mentioned in your last post to me it has helped me learn more from working on her. The right side of her hip is tight and her foot would slide during treatment and the extra warm up and elephant walking was particularly helpful. Her right foot points in to the center and has a bit of tightness, but her feet do respond pretty well. When I'm moving her leg up to the different angles is when I can really see the tightness and lack of flexibility in the hip. The elephant walk went really well, but the only issue I had was I have big hands and she has small legs so it's a little tricky figuring the way around her tendon. It helpped open up her hips. The stretches also went well. I was able to get a couple of good pops out of her hip.
July 13, 2022
So with all of the modules I try everything I can on them so I can experience and experiment with what can flow and work well with myself as well find what works well with the client. In this module they liked the calf work in the beginning. As we started getting into the stretches I was needing to backtrack to some of the rocking because the hip was too tight. The extra attention helped get into a better place to do the full stretch. The rocking stretch that was closer to the end of the video did not feel good to her so I scrapped that one for the rest of this practice and probably won't use that with her again just because it didn't feel good, but the regular stretch went pretty well especially after doing the extra warm up that was suggested for tight hips. One of the warm ups made her hip click which didn't feel great to her. I know there are a ton of alternatives and it can change from client to client and area of the body, but in the case that you get a joint that is clicking or popping in a not good way. What is another approach you would take to work that area?
July 13, 2022
I really like the 1 to 10 system so that clients can communicate more clearly. I usually ask if it feel good and if the stretch is too much, but this is a much quicker method that can answer a lot of things at once. In this module my wife was able to go into the deeper stretching, but for some reason when I was trying the variations that were supposed to be easier and work someone into the stretch it was hurting her. It was messing with some of her tense lower back muscles. Right now her hip and lower back is where she has the most issue. She has enjoyed a lot of the stretches and it's given great progress for her, but some of the lighter stretches gave her more issue that the deeper ones this time. I gave her a break so we didn't overwork and thing and we're gonna check back in later. Today I spent a good portion of time on warm up to make sure the area was nice and ready, but she seemed to do better with some of the actual stretches on some of it once we got going. Better than the variations that were given this time. I'll definitely be working on them later in the case I'll need them for a specific clients needs, but I'll practice those with another partner to make sure I fit her needs for the stretches. All in all the deeper stretches did well I could feel a nice pop that seemed to give some relief.
"I know there are a ton of alternatives and it can change from client to client and area of the body, but in the case that you get a joint that is clicking or popping in a not good way. What is another approach you would take to work that area?" - That's one major difference between oil massage where the client remains in the same position (supine and prone) and Thai Massage where there is a lot more physical manipulation.
You will always encounter differences in clients. Someone may be ticklish, someone may have some clicking noise, someone may be very pain sensitive, etc. The art is in adapting to each client and do what works best for them. There can be no general rule since everyone is different.
These differences are much more pronounced in Thai Massage than in table/oil massage because you move clients around a lot. At the same time, these more pronounced differences also allow you to get to know your client's body much better, learn how to adapt better, and do better therapeutic work.
The thing that might go unnoticed in oil massage will stand out big time in Thai Massage during certain movements. This will ultimately help you to become a better therapist. You will need to decide on a case-by-case basis what kind of technique works best and which one does not. This kind of knowing only comes with lots of practice and experience.
Some clicking and popping can feel great and very releasing. This is typically the case with pops resulting from spinal twists. In other areas clicking sounds can feel bad, as is often the case with the ankles or knees. If someone has those 'bad' clicks/pops, change what you are doing. You can try deep pressure, rocking, wiggling, squeezing, stretching, traction, etc,. and see which one works best.
July 13, 2022
The hip stretching that starting to work the lower back has gotten really good reactions. Also, using the one to ten method has made communication way easier. Making adjustments with quicker feedback has made it easier to flow through move to move. The flow stopper is really cool as well though I got some mixed reactions with it. My wife doesn't dislike it, but the feeling is so strange to her that she doesn't know how to feel about. So she doesn't care for it as much, but myself and my mother really enjoy the feeling of releasing the flow and having the blood come rushing through. I personally as a practitioner and a client like how the area feels refreshed afterwards. Getting to the parts where the material is starting to work more of the hip and lower back specifically has been a big help to my wife who is the person I practice with the most and has the most issues. These stretches have been really good for her, I'm still working on a gentler touch on her stiffer side. Where as her opposite side is super flexible and can do a lot deeper stretches.
July 13, 2022
I love how you took the time to show a mini session of how it looks to transition and flow. I'm a visual person I really want to see it to learn how to do it and the transitions I feel are a little clumsy on my part. Reminding me to slow down is helpful because the last couple of practice sessions I've been short on time and I've felt rushed. I know that if I felt rush then I'm sure they do as well, so this last practice I did after this module I slowed down and made sure I had plenty of time to move slower. Sometimes, I have a hard time thinking of the next piece and seeing you transition so smoothly help give perspective on that. The person I was working with enjoyed the foot work specifically. Her foot sat a little toward the inside showing where she was tight in the hip. I used some of the rocking motions to loosen and worked into a deeper stretch which went really well.
"I know that if I felt rushed then I'm sure they do as well." - Certainly!!
You are not only working on people's bodies but on their energy as well. And that's directly affected by your own energy. If you feel peaceful, calm, unhurried, confident, compassionate, etc, then that's what you are transmitting.
If you are in the opposite of these energetic states, then that's what you transmit. That's why good Thai Massage therapists are so much more than massage technicians. They are holistic healers.
July 13, 2022
On the elephant walk for the sacrum massage, it's hard to see how the client's feet. Does it matter if the feet are crossed or together as long as the knees are straight and at 90°? I wasn't sure about something that goes back to the earlier modules. I thought I'd figure it out through hands on work, but I figured I'd go ahead and ask.
On some of the circular stuff where you're going back and forth from one leg to the other I'm having difficulty figuring where the breath goes. On the deeper stretches that work on one leg and area at a time there's a really clear deep breath in while the body moves out and a release into the stretch but when moving away from one side and going into the other I still want to do that deep breath that feels weird with the pace. Like with elephant walking on the two different legs where would the breath go to make it even on each leg or am I just over thinking the breath work?
Working with my wife who has inverted knees using the variation of the first stretch where I could use my knee for support allowed us to do the calf stretch comfortably. She did say that the second and third points on the foot felt like it was trying to pull her knee out so I may have to make sure that my direction was solid next time I try it. The elephant walk was awesome because I got great pops out of it. One of the sides of the hip seemed to want to, but just didn't go. Working into the circles also got great pops and felt really good to her.
I had a little trouble because she was both really loose, but didn't seem to fully let go of her limbs and they would kick in randomly to give extra resistance. I checked in with her several times to make sure she was okay and she said yes and that she wasn't trying to move. This was mentioned in another module so I tried to bring some attention to it with her, but she wasn't completely able to release it at all times. In some ways I had some issues keeping her stable when working back and forth on the elephant walk even though I had her pretty tight between my legs and my feet under the buttocks, but I was still able to get good reactions from her as I worked with it.
The number system is continuing to assist however there was a stretch where hooking her heels under my knees and working her whole legs got tricky. One side is tighter than the other so with this stretch and the hip one that you have the feet on the stomach and work forward that one side would have a completely different numbers like 8 and 3. In those situations I had to switch to different stretches that gave better attention to the legs that needed it. All in all I think the training went well and look forward to the next one.
"Does it matter if the feet are crossed or together as long as the knees are straight and at 90°?" - Ideally the feet are parallel, not crossed. That's what should happen naturally. However this is not a big issue. The technique will work fine even if the feet were crossed.
"Am I just overthinking the breath work?" - Yes, you are. There are certain techniques where you can easily breathe with the movements, like when you lean in and out slowly. Then there are other techniques where it just doesn't work to breathe with the moves. Rather than trying to force some kind of synchronized breathing, just focus on breathing in a relaxed way without worrying about synchronizing it. There are no hard and fast rules here. The whole idea is to make sure that you don't hold your breath, that you don't breathe against the movements, and that you synchronize whenever possible.